One can't say for sure whether Montreal's the End went into the recording of its latest, Within Dividia, intending to make a sort of metalcore answer to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, but that's pretty much what it turns out to be, impressively enough. Don't get too excited: People who loved Neutral Milk Hotel's great indie yawp but don't already have affection for metalcore will not find a conversion experience here. In the Aeroplane was willfully beautiful, but Within Dividia, like metalcore in general, thinks the whole concept of beauty is due for a painful makeover. The comparison is one of scope rather than style; the high-volume ship-in-a-storm stop-starts will no doubt narrow the listening field some, as will the screaming vocals, which, over the course of the album's 33 minutes, hit exactly zero real notes.
Yet people who've been watching for the last few years, as metalcore has outgrown its little-brother clothes and come surprisingly into its own, will hear Within Dividia as nothing short of a shot across the bow. The fury of Philadelphia's Lickgoldensky, the dynamics of Neurosis, and the raw skill of your average jazz-fusion combo here merge in one great, pissed-off frenzy of pyrotechnical bliss.
The End's previous effort was marred by a palpable infatuation with its own weirdness. Within Dividia doesn't bury these tendencies entirely; it just sublimates them in menacing lulls and paint-peeling bursts. Savage, complex, and gorgeous, Within Dividia has an immediacy to it that almost makes up for its certain invisibility.